Simplified Immigration Procedures: What Foreigners and Businesspeople Should Know
08 May, 2015
Simplified Immigration Procedures: What Foreigners and Businesspeople Should Know
New immigration policies in Georgia, which took effect in September 2014, have instigated significant debate and dissatisfaction not only among foreigners visiting and residing in the country, but also throughout Georgian companies employing expats and persons engaged in the tourism business. Most consider the legislative amendments significantly stricter in their regulations, which create unreasonable complications for foreign citizens wishing to enter Georgia and obtain residence.

When justifying the new rules, Georgian authorities referred to obligations undertaken in the course of the visa liberalization dialogue with the EU and the necessity to regulate migration through obtaining additional information about why people come to Georgia. Despite this, the government of Georgia has now taken a number of measures to simplify immigration procedures with the goal of finding a better balance between the interests of the state and foreign nationals.
The newly introduced rules primarily concentrate on establishing a facilitated regime for tourists, business visitors and nationals from visa-exempt countries who intend to reside in Georgia.
Therefore, to what should businesses and foreigners direct their attention in this regard? Comments are provided by Sandro Samadbegishvili, a lawyer with Mgaloblishvili Kipiani Dzidziguri (MKD) law firm which employs a staff of professionals with an international outlook and extensive expertise in providing legal services in Georgia.

Obtaining an immigration visa in Tbilisi

Foreign nationals can now apply for and obtain immigration visas for Georgia at the Consular Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Tbilisi at least 45 days prior to the expiration of any legal stay in Georgia. This change allows foreign nationals, who are presently visa-exempt for visits ugeotv.ge
at Foreigners and Businesspeople Should Know" width="311" height="109" style="margin: 10px 5px; float: left;" />p to 90 days, to enter Georgia without a visa and apply for an immigration visa in Tbilisi within 45 days of their arrival. Immigration visas are issued to persons visiting Georgia for employment purposes, commercial activities and family reunification.
Previously, this category of visa was only available in the Georgian consular offices in the countries of nationality or residency of the applicants. Importantly, foreign nationals can gain eligibility for a residence permit only after obtaining an immigration visa from a corresponding sub-category.

Electronic visas now available

The principle concerns regarding changes to the immigration laws relate to the anticipated drop in tourist arrivals from non-beneficiary countries of the visa-exempt regime. Georgian immigration authorities have addressed this concern by launching e-Visa portals, which allow tourists and business visitors to obtain short-term visas in a simplified manner without visiting consular offices. Such a visa is now available through an online application and payment, with the option to print an e-Visa.
Supporting document requirements and duration of e-Visas vary, depending on the applicant’s nationality. For foreign nationals, it is sufficient for certain countries to submit a passport copy and photo of the applicant. Applicants can obtain more information on the e-Visa website or during the online registration process.
E-Visa applications should not be confused with the online application, which is the first step toward obtaining other categories of visas, including immigration visas. According to the regulations enacted in 2014, any visa application shall firstly be submitted by a foreign applicant online. Upon filing, the applicant can schedule a visit to a consular office to submit hard copies of the application and supporting documents.

Working towards a better balance

After introducing rather strict requirements for foreign nationals to arrive and reside in Georgia, immigration authorities are currently making steps towards establishing a better balance between the interests of state security and those of foreign nationals and businessmen.
Since September 2014, they have gradually adopted measures to address concerns of the interested parties by simplifying the bureaucratic obstacles and extending the time-frames for foreigners already residing in Georgia to adapt to the new policy. In addition, Georgia is in negotiations with a number of countries—especially the countries of Central and South America—regarding the adoption of a bilateral visa-free regime. This will enlarge the list of visa-exempt countries, which is currently limited to 94.
The Georgian authorities are considering draft amendments of the respective laws on the liberalization of immigration rules and procedures. Due to the changing legal environment, foreign nationals and business people are highly recommended for the provision of professional legal services in relation to immigration matters.
* * *
As a law firm, Mgaloblishvili Kipiani Dzidziguri (MKD) handles nearly all aspects of Georgian law and advises businesses from various industries. The firm benefits from a large team of expert lawyers and a well-established network of external professionals to provide its international and domestic clients with more specialization and focus. According to international legal directories, MKD’s practice and lawyers have been consistently recognized as one of the leaders in Georgia.
The information provided in this article is general in nature and does not constitute legal advice. Please contact your legal advisor regarding your specific needs and situation.
Print
Other Stories
24-year-old Georgian researcher to lead blockchain technology research center in China
Tamar Menteshashvili is a researcher at the Jiao Tong University, in Shanghai, China.
Disaster that changed the life of Tbilisi - 2 years from June 13 flood
21 people dead and 2 still missing, dozens of animals drowned or killed by police as they roamed the city streets and more than 200 families’ properties damaged
Tram restoration project ready and will cost 130 million euros
'There will be the time when the tram project is highly required' - Tbilisi Mayor Davit Narmania has told InterPressNews agency.
‘Rustavi 2’ TV Director General resigns
‘Rustavi 2’ TV Director General Nika Gvaramia has left office. The TV Company has confirmed this information.
Georgian Airways Launches Tbilisi-London Flights
From now Tbilisi and London are linked with a new direct flight by Georgian Airways.
Georgian student gets $250 000 scholarship from University of Pennsylvania
Georgian student, Meri Kavtelishvili, who this year graduated from the Komarov School with Gold Medal, has been admitted by four leading universities
“Georgian Association of Social Workers” to present winning projects of CSOs for improved child and family services
The Georgian Association of Social Workers will hold a press-conference on June 2nd, 11:00 to present the winning projects of Georgian CSOs
Georgian student who paints with bacteria earns third place at Microbiology Art Contest
Georgian student of veterinary department, who is famous for creating artworks using bacteria
Patriarch to Georgian emigrants: “I urge you to stay where you are, but at the same time be in your homeland”
The Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia, Ilia II addressed Georgian emigrants attending the Diaspora Forum taking place in Tbilisi,
May 17: Anti-Homophobia and Family Purity Day events take place simultaneously in Georgia
May 17th features two different events: one part of the society marks the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT) in Georgia
76 years together – Adjarian couple and their 162 descendants
In the village of Garetke, in Adjara’s Merisi gorge, there live 94-year-old Zekie and 95-year-old Hasan Turmanidzes,
Bicycle Lanes to Be Laid in Tbilisi
Tbilisi will soon boast its own cycle paths and infrastructure, enabling riders to safely navigate the city in specifically modified areas.
Culinary competition demonstrating US-Georgia friendship
On May 5th, 2017, USAID program REAP together with the Culinary Academy hosted an exciting culinary competition marking the 25th anniversary of Georgian and the US friendship.
Smart Kids - Winners of Millenium Innovations Award Visit NASA
The first prize winners of the Millenium Innovations Award, a team of 8th graders called Smart Kids from the Zugdidi
4.7-magnitude earthquake hits Georgia
A 4.7-magnitude quake has hit Georgia. According to the Seismic Monitoring Center, two underground quakes were observed
New Wine Festival to Open on May 13 in Tbilisi Mtatsminda Park
It will be the eighth time that Georgian Wine Club hosts a wine festival, aimed at popularizing Georgian brands, as well as raising awareness and wine culture inside Georgia.
Chips, fizzy drinks and jellies to be restricted in Tbilisi schools
The Ministry of Education and Science of Georgia has devised recommendations aimed at implementing principles of healthy eating in educational centers.
Comfort stations to be arranged at Tbilisi’s 30 locations
As Tbilisi City Hall has reported, comfort stations will be arranged at 30 locations in Tbilisi.
“I want to confess that for my family you are a saint” - Sheikh Ul Islam to Georgia’s Patriarch
"You may never hear anything like this happen in the world: the Muslim sheikh visits the Christian patriarch, kisses his hand and recognizes him as his elder."
Fast buses may appear in Tbilisi soon
Fast buses moving on separate lines may appear in Tbilisi soon,
Polluters to be fined in Tbilisi from today
Beginning from today, the street inspectors will fine the individuals and legal entities for polluting.
Georgia enlisted in low-risk countries list on ‘Bloomberg Risks Map’
The U.S. Bloomberg edition releases the global risks map assessing the threats world’s countries are facing.
Inside the Lives of Georgia’s Child Brides – National Geographic
Mari, 15, lives in the Adjara region. Most girls her age drop out of school to get married. Her grandmother believes it’s a tradition meant to be passed down.
Inheriting the Future, the Georgian-German Year 2017
On April 21 the Georgian-German Year 2017 will officially begin, with an opening ceremony to be held at Tbilisi City Assembly,
GEL Exchange Rate
Convertor
23.06.2017
24.06.2017
USD
1
USD
2.4080
2.4110
EUR
1
EUR
2.6881
2.6921
GBP
1
GBP
3.0512
3.0690
RUB
100
RUB
4.0271
4.0425
PHOTO OF THE DAY
Other Stories
Today Georgia marks the day of a highest significance in the country’s history.
So-called Night Wolves, Russian motorcycle club, has arrived at Vake Park.
In the frames of the media-program conducted by IREX and US Embassy to Georgia,
Ani Tsitsishvili is a 20-year-old student of Georgia’s Agricultural University veterinary department and she’s very fond of microbiology.
More and more Georgian alternative musical bands are emerging on the scene.
Wooden products are gaining popularity on Georgian market, including glasses, watches, bags, etc. A new item was added to that list recently – bows made of natural wood.
Georgian citizens will be able to enter the EU without a visa for short stays, under a new law passed by the Parliament on Thursday, - Official website of European Parliament reports.
The heavy fire has entirely destroyed the building of a trade centre Chidren’s World last night.
The world-famous American musician Moby expressed his support to Georgian rock band The Mins at the nearest Eurovision contest publicly.
In all prisons throughout Georgia a special Christmas service was held.
GEL Exchange
USD
1
USD
2.4110
EUR
1
EUR
2.6921
GBP
1
GBP
3.0690
RUB
100
RUB
4.0425